Google Fresh: How Will It Affect Your Site?

Nov 8, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  14 Comments

google fresh updateWhen Google comes up with a new algorithm change, all the webmasters hold their breath trying to figure out if this is the one that would send their site into the neverland of the search engine rankings.

I bet it wasn’t any different with the last week’s update that focused on pushing the freshest results to the top of the search engine pages.

Google tried to make us feel warm and fuzzy, as they announced their new update:

“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.” Source

Relevant and recent”.

Not sure what happened to the “relevancy” part (after all, relevancy is supposed to be the cornerstone of how Google works), but we all noticed the “recency” factor.

So how would this latest update affect you and your site?

Should you start posting every day now? Are you expected to compete with websites that have full-time writers constantly churning out fresh content?

The answer is a definite NO.

Although this update will affect about 35% of all searches, its scope is quite narrow, in my opinion.

It zooms in on the following information streams:

1. Current events or hot topics:

It only makes sense that when you search for “occupy Wall Street protest”, you expect to find the latest information on the topic immediately.

2. Topics in need of frequent updates:

A good example of this type of information would be products constantly coming up with new models.

If you are on the market for the latest Volvo XC-90, you are not interested in reviews of 2010 models, right?

3. Regularly occurring events:

Conferences, political elections, sports, etc. – all these events fall under “if I am searching for them, I am looking to find the info on the latest one” category.

Google says:

“Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”

Reactions Around the Web

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, along with Mike King of @iPullRank, released the following video commenting on the update:


Barry Schwartz of talks about the potential problems this update might create, referring to them as “freshness spam“:

“There are potential downsides. Sometimes you do want to reward fresh content. But what’s fresh? If someone simply makes a small change to a page, does that give it a fresh boost? If someone reposts exactly the same content on a new page a day or two after initially posting it, is that fresh? Is when the page was first found define freshness, or is the first modified date used?

Does this open Google up to an even worse situation than can already happen with Google News now, where publishers file and refile stories in an effort to win the freshness race there, since the latest versions of stories often get top billing.”

Ben Wills of doesn’t just talk about it, but offers 7 suggestions to rank higher in Google’s new fresh results:

  1. Cover Your Bases by Getting into Google News
  2. Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content
  3. Blogging
  4. Add Forums
  5. Add Question and Answers Section
  6. Add Your Own Social Network
  7. Add Your Own Social News section

If you think your site might be affected by Google Fresh changes, I strongly recommend you check out his post. Even if you don’t, still take a look at it: Bill mentions a good number of tools to help you implement his suggestions above.

Marketing Takeaway

Well, that’s it, folks.

As it’s always the case, we’ll talk about Google Fresh for another week or two, then the topic won’t be fresh any longer and we’ll get back to business as usual.

Until then, let’s try to milk the news for all it’s worth; who knows, maybe your site will show up under “Google Fresh” search tomorrow?

Similar Posts:

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

More Posts - Website

"Newsletter" Our weekly newsletter features some of the best curated SEO content from around the web!

Comment Policy

  • Maria Pavel says:

    I think webmasters need to be more creative in order to meet the algorithm changes. In that way, they could maintain their position in Google. I really wonder how many of us will be greatly affected by these changes.

  • Ana

    I absolutely agree, Maria – the news sites would be the ones that will be affected the most.

  • Keith Davis says:

    Thanks for the info on Google update, I was beginning to wonder what it was all about.

    I’m still ranking well for keywords, but my pagerank has dropped – really disappointed.

    Obviously SERPS are more important than pagerank but do you have any info about how pagerank has been affected.

    BTW – love rhe Rand Fishkin vid.
    That guy can make anything sound interesting..

    • Ana

      I’ve seen many sites drop their rank in this update, Keith.

      However, as you said, your rankings are much more important and there’s not much we can do about a lower PR other than continuing to build quality links.

  • Kat says:

    I didn’t realize there was a recent update. I guess I should say “an update of significance”. I know Google is constantly making changes and updating their databases, but how often do they do updates that typically shake things up?

  • David Walker

    I agree that the scope is pretty small, but man I seen a lot of people scrambling last week when this was announced. It will be interesting to see they deal with the potential problems that Barry points out, because it’s very easy to see where they could really screw with getting results a user wants to find. ~David Walker

    • Ana

      It seems like “overreaction” is the name of the game when it comes down to Google updates, David.

      Sure we don’t always agree with the updates and they don’t always make much sense; unfortunately, all we can do is react.

  • Tessa says:

    Google is becoming smart intelligent to refine its search results with fresh contents. Thanks for the 7 suggestions to rank well with Google’s new fresh result.

  • Marbella says:

    Hi Ana,
    I think most web pages that are already on the first page of SERP, are there because they keep coming with news and updates to their pages all the time. But if you go to geting a page on the first page, so then you know what to do now. Just follow Ana advices.

  • Ray says:

    I’ve read several articles related to this Google freshness thing. Some people seem to be all for it, and others not so happy to hear about it. I think it is a little early to tell. So far I am kind of in the middle, and not sure which way I am leaning yet. I guess it depends on the site. If they get hit hard then they will obviously be upset. If it doesn’t really affect a site then they won’t care that much.

  • Mary

    As Google has to take care of all, business, news, entertainment, society thats why we complain Google but Google is doing good work to our society.